Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, June 13, 2021

General Motors is hard-spinning its bankruptcy as a positive revitalization for the venerable brand. But apparently, one way being contemplated to complete the reinvention is by ditching the now-tainted name “General Motors” altogether.

GM is already starting to rename parts of its business. Its investment-management arm, General Motors Asset Management, is now Promark Global Advisors. The banking arm of auto finance company GMAC Financial Services last month changed its name to Ally Bank.

And, on paper at least, the “new GM” — separated from the “old GM” in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process — is already operating under a different name in court filings: Auto Acquisition Corp.

Not that keeping the GM nameplate up for public-opinion target practice isn’t paying off:

Allowing the GM name to take the heat makes it a kind of shield for its individual brands, such as Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac and Buick, that are more closely associated with individual cars, Mike DiGiovanni, GM’s executive director of global market and industry analysis, said during a monthly sales conference call in April.

“What we’re seeing is the GM brand gets dinged big time in terms of considering a GM vehicle,” he said. “But when you look at Chevrolet, Cadillac and our other brands, they haven’t changed.”

But sooner or later, that umbrella-brand flak-jacket’s probably going to have to go. Probably for the best, too. Such a generic, monolithic word combination hearkens back to 19th-Century naming conventions, ala Standard Oil (now ExxonMobil). Here are a few humble suggestions for a new automotive identity:

GenMo - A shortening of the current name, tailored for today’s shorter attention spans. Preserves the equity of decades’ worth of branding, while making it that much easier for disgruntled customers/employees/creditors to spit out as a curse.

Admiral Motors - Preserving the military-ranking motif, which, while not intentional, is probably wrongly assumed as such by a good chunk of customers out there. If you can’t win on land, take to the sea! Plus, it’s in line with the subliminal car model naming convention of suggesting positive qualities: Integra for “integrity”, Supra for “super” or “superb”, and thus “Admiral” to evoke “admirable”.

Autovate - Automobiles + innovate. Or motivate. That’s the ticket!

FaceCar - Because everyone’s on Facebook, right? May require that the social networking site to agree to a shotgun merger with the carmaker, thus causing FB to surrender a big chunk of that $10-billion valuation (as though it actually existed).

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/13/2009 05:22:05 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business
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Bowing to legal pressure by the EU, Microsoft essentially washed its hands of the anti-competitive issue by shipping the European editions of Windows 7 without Internet Explorer, or any other pre-installed browser. Purchasers will be responsible for downloading the browser of their choice after they’ve installed the new operating system.

So, the natural question: How are you supposed to download a browser if you don’t start off with a browser to get onto the Internet in the first place?

At that point, users have a system with no browser at all. So if they want Firefox or Opera or any other browser, they have no easy way to get it. For its part, Microsoft plans to make it as easy as possible for them to get IE. It will offer it via CD-ROMs at retail stores and via FTP, an old file downloading technique that has been largely sidelined due to modern browsers.

Yeah, I realize there are any number of ways around this; using an external disk (USB, CD, whatever) to transfer the new browser’s installation onto the hard drive is the simplest. But that’s not the point. The vast majority of users aren’t tech-savvy enough to pull even this off. For them, that “e” icon (or fox, or whatever) basically equals “the Internet”. It’s one thing to offer them a choice of different look-and-feel access points to the Web; it’s another to make them jump through hoops just to get to the Web at all.

Maybe a special class of Euro computer users will emerge: They’ll never install a browser at all, but instead limit themselves to just email, chat, and other limited-purpose client programs when getting online. It’d be curious to see just how you can negotiate modern life without a Web browser, actually.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/13/2009 04:37:18 PM
Category: Business, Internet, Tech
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